The Way Connection Group
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1 Peter Study
1 Peter 1:10-12
Jeff Sandberg, elder
Last week, we discussed the reason Peter begins with reminders about God’s mercy towards sinners and the future blessings and promises believers have. Suffering is a key characteristic of the Christian. At the time, the faith of Peter’s audience was being tried because of the selfishness of Caesar Nero. Though these Christians were not party to Christ’s physical presence on earth, they believed the truth and are thus now under the world’s condemnation.
This week, we look further into the past to remember that their suffering was not in vain. God never had a “plan B.” The salvation of all nations and tongues was pre-arranged before the world began. Because Peter refers to the prophets, we are to assume he means those mentioned in the writings of Sacred Scripture. This came to them through the faithful preaching of the Cross of Christ, a pattern that both they and we should continue to model, by the workings of the Holy Spirit in us.
1:10-12. Prophets looked forward to this time. It was not fully revealed to them but to us.
This faith has been prophesied about for millenia. As Peter stated in a later letter, we are to hold to “be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.” Jesus gave us an example of this when he spoke to the men on the road to Emmaus about the Messiah. After Jesus revealed himself to them and skedaddled, they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us, by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures (v32)?”
“As to this salvation…” referring to “the salvation of your souls,” meaning those from the lot of nations being saved. For example, in Genesis 49:10, Jacob is blessing and prophesying over his sons. Over Judah, he says, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” In Zechariah 6:12, Zechariah prophecies, “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
Look at Luke 25. This is, of course, Jesus with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The key verses are 25-27. [READER] So, what do we see? We see what Jesus himself saw. Blinders. In other words, people were seeing the tree, but not the forest. That’s in part why Paul called the Gospel the mystery revealed. This is also why dispensationalist churches get planted. This is also why there are covenant and dispensationalist presbyterians and baptists. It’s easy to see why. Covenant meaning, in short (and I mean, very short) that the church has been around since before Christ’s passion), and dispensationalist meaning that God works in different ways in different ears. For instance, think of the Noahic covenant versus the Abrahamic covenant, versus the judges, versus the kings, and so on. And, most notably, that Gentiles were by and large not really welcome into God’s family until the Acts of the Apostles, though we all know of exceptions, like the Centurion, the Samaritan woman, and so on.
In the spirit of Paul’s mystery, look also at Acts 3:17-26. [READER] Peter says that the prophets knew this day was coming. Wasn’t it Jesus who said, “Abraham saw this day and was glad?” Does that necessarily mean they knew all the ins and outs and what it would look like? To be honest, I wonder if Jesus was referring to what Abraham saw once he died and the truth was revealed to him? Of course, it doesn’t say. All we know is, they knew. Some, like the Pharisees, twisted it or wrongly interpreted the prophets, which is why you have multitudes running to make pre-crucifixion Jesus a king before his time.
What’s the point? Peter says here that the prophets carefully searched and investigated the Messiah’s timeline. They didn’t question the event itself. They presumed it to be true. In fact, the Scriptures says they were “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them.” That’s the difference. They are, in the world’s eyes, not scientists, who, by definition, change with test results or even new hypotheses. The Spirit of God, the God of the universe, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of slavery, revealed to them…
V11. “... that they were not serving themselves, but you…” How? What was and is God doing? Verse 9 - bringing about the salvation of your souls. This is a person on a rescue mission. Angels are not privy to our situation. They don’t get to choose anymore. They had a chance and a third of them chose to follow Lucifer straight to hell.
Vs 10-12 outline the strivings of the prophets to see and prepare for the coming of the Holy One. “Angels desire to look into” these things.” In Matt. 13:17, Jesus says, “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (See also Luke 10:24). Peter and Stephen both repeat these sentiments in Acts. I don't wish to over-personify this too much, but I do think that Stephen, especially, must have had a face-palm moment with the angry, unbelieving Jews.
Daniel Chapter 2 describes a scene where Daniel comes before Nebuchadnezzar to describe and interpret a troubling dream the king has. That he both seeks God (Yahweh) for the vision and issues this type of blessing is instructive for us. Daniel 2:19-23. [READER]
Daniel ascribes truth to the “God in Heaven” before issuing any prophecy. We need not “science it out. Daniel simply prays. Are we a praying people? To know the One True God and be in relationship with Him, isn’t that the point? As we see the prophets inquiring, we must ask ourselves, how does one investigate? The scientific method would have you ask a question, make an educated guess at an answer and test and retest until the hypothesis and the result match. The evidentiary method would have you look for evidence that brings out the truth, in our case, by finding eyewitnesses whose stories corroborate. Or, we can simply do what the prophets did. Ask God. We have the Bible, We are in the Bible still called to pray.
Most of you have heard the phrase, “progressive revelation.” This simply means that parts of a particular truth are revealed piece by piece until the whole is revealed at the end. In Bible terms, this means, in part, that God is revealed in his fullness, piece by piece, going from being a bit cloudy to “seeing him, as it were, face to face.” Daniel is still revealing a mystery. Yet, he trusted fully in the God he loves yet only knows in part.
In summary, we have prophets, chosen by God, seeking Him to know Christ and how and when he’ll work. We see prophecy fulfilled and continuing to be fulfilled as we speak. We see the nations having the gospel proclaimed. We see as Jerome Smith summarizes in the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, “the Holy Spirit confirming and prospering the preaching of the gospel by the Apostles and deacons like Stephen and Philip.”
My challenge today would be to do as the prophets and apostles did. As Jesus did. Trust God and pray. They didn’t say, “Dear all you gods, would the one who has the answer to this question give me the answer?” No, he prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He went to the source and asked for his imminent wisdom. May we do the same as we seek to invite sinners to the one who revealed himself as Jesus, the one who through whom the world and everything in it have been made.